Today’s Freemasons: a secretive society with power over the police?

Split loyalties

Rogers said that police who were also Masons had split loyalties between the secretive organisation they belonged to and the public they are supposed to serve.

In Britain today Freemasonry membership reaches into the heart of government.

Critics say that someone reporting a crime has the right to know whether the policeman investigating the case and the person they are complaining about are members of the same lodge.

The same is true in the courtroom.

If the judge and one of the litigants happen to spend their weekends performing secret rituals together, surely the other litigant has the right to know about it? In 1998 the Labour government brought in laws that made it compulsory for a new judge or a magistrate to declare their Freemasonry membership.

But after threatened legal action from the Masons, the then Justice Secretary, Jack Straw, removed this disclosure requirement.

The society has told i that up to ten MPs and around 200 judges and policemen are paid up Masons. These pillars of the British establishment are joined by hundreds of civil servants and councillors who meet up to eight times a year in ancient buildings across the country.

Then there are the initiation ceremonies. Much has been written about how men are led blindfolded into a gathering of fellow brothers where they take part in rituals so sensitive that members are told to never disclose what happens.

Britain has a long history of secret societies, but for the last three centuries, the Masons have been preeminent.

Going public

Back at the Masons HQ in London, the recent media onslaught has prompted the biggest PR operation in the society’s 300-year-old history.

Stung by the criticism of what it regards as a “gross misrepresentation” of its values, the society paid for a full-page letter to be published in The Guardian, The Times and The Daily Telegraph.

Masons’ chief executive officer, Dr David Staples, called the attacks on its 200,000 plus members “discrimination. Pure and simple.” Not content with the PR blitz, Staples wrote to the Equality and Human Rights Commission as well as complaining directly to the press regulator, Ipso.

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